#APEX5: Thriving in Challenging Times

Updated: Sep 21, 2020


Paul Gorgonio (PaulAndrew_APEX)

Founder, APEX TEAM

The year 2020 started with high hopes. After all, 2020 marks the beginning of a new decade. But half-way through January up to the present, we’ve continuously witnessed a world that suffers from catastrophic natural disasters, political conflicts and economic turmoil. Worst, the COVID19 pandemic happened and it has dramatically changed how we live our lives.

Among APEXians, we started 2020 with a huge excitement as we looked forward to our 5th anniversary on September 21. We made a grand plan of celebrating the anniversary through an APEX meetup in the Netherlands. With the worsening impact of the pandemic, and the health risks attached to air travel and social gathering, we had to cancel it and postpone the meetup indefinitely. As the world slowed down, we did too. But that doesn’t mean we’re stopping in any way.

To mark our 5th year in the Smule app, we gave APEX a new identity – our new APEX logo. We commissioned Christian Verano, a Filipino brand identity designer, to design our new logo. We are thankful to this creative genius, who is also a fellow Smuler (ID: thechristhetics).

As a matter of fact, we started our celebrations for our 5thanniversary season a month ahead with Pentatonix’s Na Na Na. And we are working on three more projects, which include Sarah Bareilles’Gravity, Benny Goodman’sSing, Sing, Sing, and Billie Eilish’sWhen the Party’s Over. It’s been an APEX tradition that the anniversary is celebrated for almost two months.

As a family, we are also growing and expanding. At present, APEX Team boasts of its 47 members from all over the world. Early this year, APEX revived the ApexPH (or APEX Philippines), which is comprised of Filipino Smulers around the world, who are committed to produce choral Filipino music. Also, our APEX Be Our Guest, which we introduced in #APEX4th anniversary, continues to produce amazing APEX collaborations with our invited guests, who then turned to be our friends in and outside the app. It also gave us the opportunity to grow in numbers as we absorbed some of them to the team.

To say that we are an international Smule group is undeniably not an exaggeration. The APEX world map below shows how culturally diverse and geographically dispersed APEXians are. And to Smule, we really miss the globe in the Smule app. It literally shows how Smule has made the world smaller when we’re connected through a song.

The pandemic definitely slowed us down as many of us now work at home and have to attend to family needs round the clock. While we boast of hundreds of choral pieces that we produced throughout the years, we now produce fewer collaborations than we used to. The fact that most members, if not all, only have a few hours to spare in a week for choral projects allows us to be more selective in the projects that we do like the meaningful and socially-relevant Fight Song, which we dedicated to all Covid19 front liners, and With a Little Help from my Friends, Homeand You Will Be Foundfor those who are struggling these difficult times.

More importantly, a more noticeable change is that during these trying times, we learned to focus more on building and strengthening our relationships. We learned to be more understanding, compassionate, and accommodating to our fellow APEXians. Life is already hard, and going through the same difficult situation, together, makes it easier to endure and overcome them. At the end of the day, when the world fails us, we have our APEX family to turn to. Happy 5th Anniversary, APEX Team!!!

Here are some thoughts from our fellow APEXians:

“We live in a time that’s never experienced before by any of us. Although we’re socially-distanced and behind masks, I feel like APEX has brought us closer than ever! We all have a passion for singing, especially choral works. So even though we live in hard times, we were able to really get together and create some of our best songs to date.” – Gabriel Lovin, APEX Core Alumnus (Gabe_APEX)

“APEX is an escape to a family I never knew I needed – a group that I am so thankful to have joined just before the world turned upside down. It has given me not only a way to challenge myself and express myself through my talents but also a group of people where I feel I can be myself and connect. I have only been in the group around 9 short months, but some of these people feel like I have known them longer. As the rest of the world closed down and separated through the COVID-19 reaction, our group has gotten closer and bonded through what could be a very lonely and depressing time in our lives.” – Allison Fleming (Ally_APEX)

“2020 has had the choral world take a long indefinite break, and more virtual choirs started to appear all over social media. I was feeling quite proud that APEX global virtual choir was already there for the past 5 years, and it seems that now we’re being taken more seriously.” – Hristiana Chiper, APEX Core (Chrissy_APEX)

“Right before COVID-19 happened, I just got back into a choir. I was really excited about it, but sadly, the pandemic took that away. Then my friend Allison, who is an APEX member, shared with me a beautiful project they did, Sometimes I Hear God’s Music. I was in awe, and it’s very rare that a Smule group can catch my eye the way APEX did. Now, I’m proud to call myself an APEXian.” – Nick Brown (oldschool_Nick)

“APEX has been my go-to-place when I needed an escape from the stress working in the healthcare field. This pandemic brought me fear and anxiety each day. There were hard times when I was truly scared to go to work, but my APEX family was always there to show empathy, reassuring me and my family that we will be safe. Having the opportunity to talk and sing with them helped me cope with life’s daily struggles. Our virtual choir has been my saving grace thru all this craze and my love for them is immeasurable!” – Karen Bautista (Karen09_APEX)

“I followed the APEX Team for quite some time, and I saw some truly amazing projects coming out with incredible musicality combined with visual storytelling and a sense of joy shining through in their performance. I always thought APEX seemed like a big family, where combined musical growth and fantastic performances was in focus. In these times, we’re more “musically” isolated than usual since choir singing is considered one of the riskiest things one could do with regard to the viral spread. Being admitted to APEX team means not only having the ability to develop and fine tune my choral singing skills, but also having a welcoming and supportive family, which is a core value of the team. What a better way to spend your time than to sing together and create fantastic projects!” – Carolina Ellberg (CarolinaEllberg)

To those who have been supporting APEX throughout these years, we are deeply thankful. If you haven’t found us yet in the Smule app, you can check our channel @APEXTeam and @ApexPH on the Smule app. We are also present in various social media: www.smule.com/apexteam (Smule), APEXTeam2015 (FB), and APEXTeam0921 (IG, YouTube and Twitter). If you want to sing with us in a choral project, here is the link to register: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/APEXBeOurGuest.

We now leave you our Top 5 choral projects in the 12 months, as chosen by APEXians:

1. Into the Unknown (Frozen 2):


2. Come Alive (The Greatest Showman):


3. Les Miserables Choral Medley – Finale: https://www.smule.com/p/461973329_3376423451

4. You Will Be Found (Dear Evan Hansen): https://www.smule.com/p/461973329_3543402512

5. Carol of the Bells of Notre Dame (Voctave)


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